By Mark Waite
Nye Communities Coalition was picked to coordinate a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Workforce Development and Job Training Program by county commissioners Tuesday.
The other bidders were Ron Murphy Construction Company and Henry Melton, a hearing master for the Southern Nevada Health District who was an adjunct professor in hotel administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
County Manager Pam Webster said Nye County was the only county to receive a grant of this size nationally. The $199,000 grant will be used to train up to 100 people for jobs in environmental fields during the three years of the program.
“We have a two-year monitoring program that goes with these grants to follow the people that go through the training to follow up on their ability to be employed. We had, so far, pretty good success,” Webster said.
The NyE Communities Coalition is a non-profit organization that includes adult and youth workforce training as part of its core mission, Executive Director Stacy Smith wrote, in a letter of support for the county application. The organization has experience training low income residents, particularly the unemployed, and helping them find work.
NyECC serves Nye, Esmeralda and Lincoln counties offering adult workforce development in the Career Connections division, it also administers the Youth WERKS program and health and wellness programs targeting poverty, substance abuse, chronic disease and general health problems.
The coalition can screen applicants using their existing system, saving the county grant money, Smith said. It can also leverage resources to provide training that can’t be funded under the grant, she said, like how to prepare resumes and interview skills.
It will be the county’s second Brownfields job training grant. The first $200,000 grant, awarded in 2008, went to train residents to clean up meth labs, petroleum storage tanks, asbestos, lead and mold abatement, hazardous waste management and do environmental assessments. More than half of the 38 trainees that graduated from the first course found jobs by July 2010. The graduates obtained a 30-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA certification for construction among other training.
The training program will include six required core training areas with seven classes. Two supplemental courses and a minimum of two optional supplemental courses will be offered.
The community coalition hopes at least 80 percent of the graduates will find work. Their scope of work includes contacting potential employers and following up on graduates.
The coalition suggested three training cycles, from March through May and July through September of this year and again from November through January 2014. A minimum of 60 participants is required, 20 per cycle, with a targeted rate of 54 to 57 graduates.